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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Dale Bergeson has run in the Army Ten-Miler in Washington D.C. many times.
In the Colfax Messenger 25 years ago, the November 10, 1994, edition reported that Bergeson was one of 13 Wisconsin Army National Guard members running in the tenth annual Army Ten-Miler race October 16 at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. Bergeson came in third among the Wisconsin contingent, recording a time of 69 minutes and 10 seconds.
For the past several years, Bergeson has been running the race with his daughter, Tabatha O’Keefe.
This year, three generations of Bergesons ran the Ten-Miler: Dale, Tabatha, and Dale’s two grandsons Morgan, 17, and Liam, 16.
The race is limited to 35,000 runners and has limited civilian and retiree entries, according to information provided by Tabatha O’Keefe.
Major Dale Bergeson, Aeromedical Physician Assistant (Retired), and his family members ran the 35th Army 10-Miler October 13 under the team name of “Papa’s Crew.”
According to the Army Ten-Miler website, the race was started in 1985 and is run each October in Washington D.C. “to promote the Army, build esprit de corps, support Army fitness goals, and enhance community relations. All race proceeds benefit Soldier MWR programs.”
MWR stands for “Morale, Welfare and Recreation.”
Dale’s daughter Megan and granddaughter Gwen, 11, also attended as spectators and cheered on Papa’s Crew with personalized signs. One sign had pictures of “the crew,” and the other sign, also with pictures, stated “Army Strong” and “Family Strong.”
Dale appreciated their sign-making skills.
“I saw the signs they’d made — and they were the best signs out there!” he said.
The 10-mile race begins at the Pentagon and continues along the National Mall and other historic landmarks before ending up back at the Pentagon.
Tabatha led Papa’s Crew by 13 minutes, with Dale coming in next, followed by both grandsons not long after.
Tabatha finished the race in 1 hour, 20 minutes and 28 seconds, according to the race results on the Army Ten-Miler website.
Bergeson finished the race at 1 hour, 33 minutes and 3 seconds.
Morgan O’Keefe came in at 1 hour, 40 minutes and 40 seconds.
Liam O’Keefe came in at 1 hour, 48 minutes and 49 seconds.
The team placed ahead of many active duty teams, Tabatha O’Keefe said.
“Dad ran this race competitively as part of the Wisconsin National Guard Marathon Team well over 10 times,” she said.
“This is the third time he and I have run it together, and the first time for the grandkids to join,” Tabatha said.
Tabatha and Morgan also enjoyed the unique opportunity of attempting a timed fitness challenge with the U.S. Army Warrior Fitness Competition Team. Both successfully completed the workout: 90-pound “weighted farmer carry,” pull-ups, 80 pound over-the-shoulder ball toss, and 90-pound dead-lifts as well as other skills.
They each received a “Warrior Fitness Team” t-shirt.
The race expo was held at the D.C. Armory. Armed services had new and exiting equipment and technologies on display. Many of the exhibits were geared toward recruiting soldiers into special operations positions, Tabatha said.
Liam was even able to try out new battlefield technologies in a training simulator, she noted.
The Army Ten-Miler has now become a Bergeson-O’Keefe family tradition that they are hoping will continue for many years with the grandchildren participating, too.